Emotional Health and Spiritual Maturity
Emotional health in the church is linked to spiritual maturity. But, so many don’t know that. God says in His word that we should let go of what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead. This is so true, but it is often taken out of context. Paul is saying to let go of past sins and move on into the grace that Jesus Christ died to give us.
“The link between emotional health and spiritual maturity is a large, unexplored area of discipleship.”
Peter Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Church
Another saying we emotionally hide behind in the church is, “I am a new creature in Christ. So I don’t have to deal with my past.” It is so true that we are made new. Made clean in Christ, but salvation doesn’t mean that our hearts and minds don’t need renewal.
Trauma such as sexual abuse leaves a person’s heart and mind broken. So many who are emotionally wounded are walking around our churches. Yet they act as if they are okay. And on the surface they are, but underneath, like the bottom of the iceberg the wounds run deep. Our calling as the church is to go into all the world and preach the gospel to them. How does a wounded person save another person drowning in the darkness of the world? They can’t. But they can if they surrender to the Healer.
Marked for Life?
“If you are like me, you may feel that the sexual abuse you endured left an indelible mark on your soul, staining your emotional, physical, relational, and sexual health. It has permeated the way you view the world.”
Mary Demuth, Not Marked
For so many years of my life, I had a false identity. I lived as if my childhood didn’t happen. I wanted no one to know the marks I bore on my soul from the abuse that occurred. Some of the memories were repressed (held outside conscious awareness for my protection) , and some of them were suppressed ( withheld from disclosure by an act of my will). In fact I live with dissociative disorder. My mind decided to compartmentalize my abuse and keep it far from me until I could deal with it. A specialized therapy has helped me. EMDR has been life saving to me, and Mary discusses that in her book.
So for years I had secrets I knew, and those I couldn’t remember. What I didn’t know is that secrets can kill. Slowly on the inside until the infection spreads to your outer life and infects everyone around you. No one knows what it is, but they know they don’t want it. Brokenness, bitterness, insecurity, shame, guilt, defeat, and more when a “Christ life” should reflect victory, freedom, love, and peace.
Sexual abuse can leave a person feeling marked for life. It can leave you believing that everyone can see what happened in the dark. There is a shame that mounts upon you that you carry with you long into adulthood, and without healing it never goes away. It leaves you desperate for love, but without the ability to receive it. It leaves you begging for grace, already given. It leaves you feeling hopeless and condemned. So you honestly cannot love yourself, or others, and struggle with loving God because you can’t seem to wrap your mind around His kind of love. So eventually you realize that your heart needs to be dealt with. That your soul is desperate to receive what you are called to give, and no amount of work on the surface of your life can erase what has happened to you. But Jesus can. He can set you free.
I know because I surrendered to His healing plan for me long ago. And though it waxes and wanes, probably for the rest of my life, I am able to go into all the world and tell them what God can do with a broken life. A life He makes whole.
The Reality and The Hope
One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused as children. So when you sit in church on a Sunday morning you can actually look out at the faces of the people you worship with and see a broken sea of people all hiding behind stained glass masks.
That is why my sister and yours in Christ, Mary Demuth, wrote the book, Not Marked. That is why I am so passionate about the message God has given her to share with those broken by sexual abuse in this world. She wants them to find the hope and healing that Jesus offers after sexual abuse.
There are several books out there I recommend to sexual abuse survivor/thrivers, but this one I recommend to every Christian. It is vulnerable and honest, and dives deep into the heart of a person who has suffered abuse with the loving healing balm of Jesus. It asks the questions our voices don’t whisper out loud. It is testimony to the life we can have if we tell our stories, allow God to heal us, and then use that testimony to tell the rest of the world that we are not marked. It brings hope, with practical ways in which a person can forgive, renew the mind, and navigate relationship with God, self, our spouse, and others.
Help for the Spouse of a Survivor/Thriver
The parts of the book Mary’s husband wrote are priceless to me and my spouse. There is no other resource for Christian marriages that addresses the deep issues of the heart of a marriage in which one or both partners have been abused as children, or suffered from sexual sins of another.
This month I am giving this book away for free because I so whole heartedly want you to know that you and I can live Not Marked by sexual abuse. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Whether you are in the beginning stages of telling your secret, have been traveling the road toward wholeness, are a caregiver, or a person who knows someone who suffered from childhood sexual abuse you need this resource.
Mary’s main website is MaryDeMuth.com — Your Life Uncaged.
May God bless you as richly as He has me as I have trusted Him as Healer. May He also bless you greatly as you share the hope in living a life Not Marked.